Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hooray for Common Sense

Summer is truly upon us. There are signs all around that barbecue season is about to take hold, but the most compelling of these has nothing to do with the weather. To a commuter, the surest sign of the changing of the seasons is surely the coming of a new train timetable. I don't actually know what fancy name they have dreamed up for the Summertine schedule. The timetable that comes into operation in the Autumn is known, charmingly, as the "Leaffall" timetable. But for its counterpart which hails the arrival of the Hayfever eeason there is no such moniker, nor does it get the big build up as happens at the end of September, when posters start appearing in odd places on the station concourse (just far enough away from the stairs that you don't actually notice them) fortelling the great and seismic change that will shortly be upon us, throwing all journey plans to the winds and causing a total of five commuters to be late for work.

The thing is, the reason nobody bothers to read the posters and signs is that, invariably, the new timetable is no different from the old one. Possibly a few trains may be several carriages shorter, or just that little bit slower, but in practice, as long as you are not one of those reckless types who times his arrival to the nanosecond that the train appears around the corner and chugs into the station (but nonetheless always manages to get a seat, natch, often due to a scant regard for the rules - the yellow line is there for a reason, you know), in which case, frankly, you deserve all you get, the new timetable makes not a jot of difference.

You know what's coming next, don't you?

Yes! You've guessed it. The new train timetable on the GN route is genuinely innovatively different. The thing is, whereas previosuly all trains stopped at exactly the same stations, so that the fast ones went straight from Stevenage into London and any poor bugger who happned to live at one of the calling points in between had to get on one of the appallingly overcrowded stoppers, the new timetable allocates one intermediate station per fast train, so that anyone living in Knebworth or Welwyn North gets the chance to actually get a seat. Brilliant. It will make me feel so much better on those occasions when I miss my own train and have to catch a slow one, where previously I have always been racked with guilt about taking up space.


At 6:26 AM GMT+1 , Blogger DJ Kirkby said...

I much prefer the 'fast train' amd will even leave much earlier than nessesary in the morning to get on one after once having to take a stopping train and had to stand for the entire 2 hour journey home.

At 2:27 PM GMT+1 , Blogger JD said...

Ah but DJ you can't but appreciate the genius of this new timetable. It's the best thing to happen to Knebworth since Robbie Wiliams.


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